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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide

Image of Nashville warbler.Zoom+ Nashville warbler. Image courtesy of Flickr user dfaulder.

Nashville warbler

Oreothlypis ruficapilla

Species Group: Bird

Conservation Status

State: Special Concern (Breeding)



The Nashville warbler is a small migratory songbird about 5 inches in length. It has a gray head, olive-green back, yellow throat, and no wing bars. It also has a white ring around each eye. The female is slightly paler than the male.

Image of Range of the Nashville warbler in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the Nashville warbler in New Jersey.


This species has a breeding range in eastern North America as well as western North America, and those two ranges do not overlap. The breeding range of the Nashville warbler in the eastern portion of North America extends from southeastern Canada in the north to the upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states in the south, extending southwest along the Appalachian Mountains into West Virginia. In the western portion of North America, their breeding range covers portions of the Rocky, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada Mountains from British Columbia in the north to California in the south, as far east as northwestern Montana. They winter in coastal California as well as central and southern Mexico.

Breeding habitat includes forested wetlands, bogs, fens, open woodland, old fields, forest edges, and areas recently cut or burned.


Nashville warblers are primarily insectivorous, but will also feed on berries and seeds. They typically forage low in trees or within thickets along forest edges.


The breeding season for the Nashville warbler in New Jersey is between mid-May and mid-August. The nest is built by the female and is on or near the ground, usually near the base of a small tree or shrub or within a clump of grass. 4 to 5 eggs are laid and incubation (mostly by the female) lasts about 11-12 days. The young are tended to by both parents and leave the nest at about 11 days after hatching.


The Nashville warbler population is relatively stable throughout most of its range. However, it is listed as a Species of Special Concern in New Jersey (not yet endangered or threatened but possibly on its way).

Text written by Michael J. Davenport in 2011.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
       Class: Aves
          Order: Passeriformes
             Family: Parulidae
                Genus: Oreothlypis
                   Species: O. ruficapilla

Find Related Info: Special concern, Migratory songbirds

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